President Obama has trotted out the story of how Navy SEALs took down Osama bin Laden quite a few times, and now his administration is doing the same thing with the story of the SEALs rescuing hostages from Somali pirates. It's a disturbing exploitation of the elite unit done for "political gain," writes former Navy SEAL officer Leif Babin in the Wall Street Journal, and it endangers the lives of the special operations forces and their contacts in other countries.
In both cases, details of the supposedly top-secret operations were leaked by anonymous officials and splashed all over the news. But such details can give away too much to the enemy—and if the enemy can learn enough to "anticipate the manner and timing of an attack, the likelihood of success is significantly reduced and the risk to our forces is significantly increased," Babin writes. "Such disclosures are catastrophic to US intelligence networks, which often take years to develop," and could set our intelligence-gathering efforts back decades. (Read more Navy SEALs stories.)